Even though an e-bike’s lithium-ion batteries can become dangerous, a special battery-powered vehicle classification known as UN 3171 makes shipping e-bikes in single packaging easier, cheaper and more convenient.
Per this classification, your e-bike is NOT considered to be hazmat; you don’t need to be a hazmat-certified shipper; you don’t need to pay a hazmat surcharge; and you can ship your e-bike to and from more locations.
Shipping e-bikes under this classification is limited to ground service within the contiguous U.S. We do not ship to Alaska or Hawaii because aircraft are often used to fulfill “ground service” shipments to those states.
How To Ship Your E-bike with BikeFlights
Our e-bike shipping service is for shipping single e-bikes with a fully functioning battery that is either contained within the bike’s frame or installed on the bike.
Prior to shipping your e-bike, you must do these five things:
- Lower your battery charge to less than 30% to limit cell-to-cell combustion.
- Power off your battery, remove any keys, and ensure that your battery cannot turn “on” during transit.
- Protect your e-bike and its battery by using lots of extra-dense foam padding.
- Pack your e-bike into a large and sturdy box rated for e-bikes such as the BikeFlights Bike Box Large (BBL).
- Completely remove or completely cover ALL bulk shipping hazmat markings like these:
Why? Hazmat stickers are required for bulk e-bike shipments such as when a manufacturer or distributor ships many e-bikes together on a pallet, but these stickers are NOT required for single e-bike shipments. In fact, failure to remove Class 9 or UN 3480 markings on your single e-bike shipment will result in your e-bike being incorrectly considered a hazmat shipment, which means it will be stopped and tagged for disposal.
Size and Weight Restrictions
Limits on shipping size and weight for e-bikes going through the ground service network are the same as for standard bikes. Please see our Dimensions Rates page for more information.
If your bike is over 70 pounds, we recommend that you apply a heavy package sticker like the one below. This helps to alert carrier drivers, staff and others that special care should be taken for safe handling.
Pick Up or Drop Off
We recommend you schedule a pickup when booking your e-bike shipment, and we’ll send a carrier driver to come get your packed bike. You may also drop off your e-bike shipment at a UPS Customer Center; remember to always ask for a receipt.
We do not recommend that you drop off your e-bike at UPS Stores because they are individually franchised, and rules and restrictions about the size and weight of packages they will accept vary by location.
Battery-Only Shipment Options
- To ship a healthy spare or standalone battery, please contact the United States Postal Service (USPS).
- To recycle a damaged or defective e-bike battery, please contact Call2Recycle.
Fastest Electric Bikes for Sale in 2023: Top 5 Rapid E-Bikes
The Monaco-made Voxan Wattman has 150kw of power, or 203 horsepower, and can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62mph) in 3.4 seconds. It was specially created to set new world speed records, so you can’t just go out and buy one.
Another super-fast e-bike that is solely made to break records is White Motorcycle Concepts’ WMC250EV.
It’s not intended to be a road-going machine, and was created to target the world land speed record for electric motorcycles, and also to show that its unusual technologies are improvements over conventional ones.
Its name comes from its intention to hit 250mph, but its final top speed may be higher than that. When it was initially tested, just to make sure that its systems and technical elements were working as they should, it got up to 170mph without really trying.
Fastest E-Bikes You CAN Buy
Hi Power Cycles Revolution XX
Heavy-Duty Tyres and World-Class Brakes
Windscreen for High Speeds
i Power Cycles’ Revolution XX Super E-Bike is an impressive machine with extraordinary performance and incredible top speeds.
The top speed of the Revolution XX is officially listed at 70mph, and test riders have been able to achieve 74mph on a flat surface.
The manufacturers state that they believe this is the fastest e-bike ever produced that has usable pedals at top speed.
It looks more like a dirt bike than a bicycle, with heavy-duty tyres, world class brakes and even a windscreen — necessary when going at such high speeds.
The windscreen is specially designed to breach wind resistance at top speeds, helping riders gain an extra few mph on the top end, and the suspension system is individually factory tuned to suit the rider who purchases it.
The battery system allows for a nearly 100 mile range, which is more than enough for an off-road speed run.
Only 20 units of the Revolution XX will ever be made, so this is a very exclusive bike.
It is also worth noting that, according to the HPC website, the bike will ship fully compliant with US Class 2 e-bike laws, meaning it will be limited to 20mph. Of course, as we’ve discussed earlier, you can remove speed limiters, but it will render the bike unusable on public road
Hi Power Cycles Revolution X
Upgraded motor with increased efficiency and lower weight
Compliant with US Class 2 e-bike laws
Hi Power Cycles’ Revolution X is the manufacturer’s flagship model, which boasts a top speed of up to 65mph depending on which power option you choose.
The Revolution X has a 6,000W power level as standard, but buyers can upgrade to a 7,000W or 8,000W machine to reach the top speeds.
The model was first launched five years ago, but in 2022 the manufacturer has added an all-new motor, a 7% increase in maximum efficiency, a lower weight and less cogging torque.
The bike’s starting price is 13,000, with any added extras like two-stage colours, coloured rims, upgraded power levels, upgraded charger, individually factory-tuned suspension, added lighting etc costing extra.
As standard, you can choose from gloss red, gloss white, matte black or clear coat paint.
You can choose from the Thunderbolt (speed motor) or Striker (high torque motor) depending on what kind of ride you’re after.
The Speed motor blends speed, acceleration and torque in a way that’s perfect for moderate trails and moderate hills. With this motor, you can achieve speeds of 55mph on the 6,000W model, 60mph on the 7,000W model, and 60mph on the 8,000w model.
The Torque motor is for riders who want more acceleration/torque while sacrificing a bit of top speed. It’s more efficient than the Speed motor in most circumstances, and is better suited to steeper hills and trails. With this motor, you can achieve speeds of up to 45mph with the 6,000W model, 47mph with the 7,000W and 50mph with the 8,000W.
Like the XX, the Revolution X will ship fully compliant with US Class 2 e-bike laws, meaning it will be limited to 20mph.
2500W continuous power: highlights the power capability
60-mile range: emphasizes the range of the bike
Motorcycle-grade brakes: emphasizes the quality and precision of the braking system.
The Stealth B-52 reaches top speeds of up to 50mph, and is comparatively cheaper than the Revolution models listed above at around £9,500.
It weighs 64kg, has a max range of 60 miles on economy or 25 miles on full-throttle, and a recharge time of 3 hours.
The Stealth B-52 comes complete with motorcycle-grade brakes which gie you precise stopping control with just two fingers on the levers.
A silent, high-torque, brushless DC hub motor gives you fast acceleration, and is coupled with suspension that will give you a smooth ride even on the toughest trails.
It is designed with solid state, digital inverter technology with no moving parts to prevent wear-and-tear and reduce maintenance intervals.
It has a continuous power of 2500W and the peak power is 6200W, and its noise emission is just 65db — quieter than the average vacuum cleaner!
You can get the Stealth B-52 in Pitch Black or Pitch Black Fluo depending on preference, and you can add on front and rear mudguards and a controller cover if you wish.
Delfast Top 3.0/3.0i
Full charge range of up to 200 miles
On-board computer with GPS
With a full charge range of up to 200 miles and a top speed of 50mph, the Delfast Top is a great e-bike for anyone looking for endurance as well as speed.
Some critics say it blurs the lines between electric bicycle and electric motorbike, but as it still has pedals, we’re including it in this list — like many of the other bikes we’ve featured, it looks more like a dirt bike with pedals than a regular bicycle.
There are two models of the Delfast Top available depending on your location — the Delfast Top 3.0, which can be bought in the EU and internationally, and the Delfast Top 3.0i, which is only available in the US.
The Delfast Top 3.0i has an on-board computer and 4G GPS, while the 3.0 has a built-in 3G GPS navigation system. Aside from this, they are functionally the same in terms of speed, range and more.
In terms of speed modes, both bikes will ship as a Class 2 e-bike, powering up to 750W with a top speed of 20mph and a Gates Carbon Drive single gear belt drive.
The EU version has a limited mode with a 15mph max speed, which is suitable for road driving in the UK and EU, as well as a 20mph eco version.
Both bikes have an Unlimited mode, which on the US 3.0i model is up to 5000W and 50mph, while the EU 3.0 model can go to 3000W and 50mph.
Therefore, while the top speeds remain the same, the regional versions of the bike are adapted to be road legal in their respective territories while still able to be opened up off-road if you choose — a great bike for all terrains and uses, including commuting.
Both models come in a range of colours, with black or white as standard and orange, red and blue available at an extra cost.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- Get to where you need to go faster and easier than on a regular bike. Depending on how you choose to ride, you can travel without significant effort at up to 20mph on some bikes and even up to 28mph on others.
- Climbing hills is a breeze. and we aren’t talking about the breeze from huffing and puffing.
- No sweat. Even though you can ride much faster, you won’t feel like you have to take a shower once you are there.
- Safer. That might seem counter-intuitive, since you can go faster than on a regular bike, but you also get an easier start from stopped positions, allowing you to get through an intersection steadier and quicker. When climbing steep hills with cars nearby you can FOCUS more of your energy on controlling the bike instead of propelling the bike.
- Easier on those joints. Use the electric assist to ease the pressure on your knees and hips.
- Staying together. You may have a riding partner that rides at a different pace than you. An e-bike can even out the pace for both of you.
- Ditch the car. The convenience, the ease and the speed of an electric bike make it an alternative to an automobile more often than a regular bike. A study by Portland State University shows that e-bike owners ride more frequently and farther than when they relied on their traditional bike. This was the case for all age groups.
- It’s FUN. Just try one and you’ll see. Or catch a friend coming back from their first test ride with a big smile on their face.
Do I need a license?
No. As long as the e-bike has a motor size of 750 watts or less (1000 watts in Oregon) and is programmed so that it can’t go more than 20mph without pedaling, there is no need for a license. No electric bike sold by Cynergy E-Bikes requires licensing. FYI – you must be at least 16 years of age to operate an e-bike in public places.
Where can I ride my e-bike?
First and foremost, make sure your bicycle with an electric motor is classified as an e-bike. The definition of an e-bike and rules on where to ride will vary state by state. For federal land the rules vary depending on the branch of government. For the most complete resource, check out PeopleforBikes.org
For Oregon, you can ride an e-bike on:
- Any bike lane on the street.
- Shared use paths that are reserve for bicycles and pedestrians
- For state parks, you can ride on paved trails that allow bicycles, but check with the individual park’s management for their rules for unpaved trails. It varies from park to park.
- Any trail where motor vehicles are permitted, such as unpaved forest service roads.
In Oregon, you must be at least 16 years old to ride an e-bike on public property. While most states have motor wattage limits of 750 watts, Oregon’s limit is 1000 watts.
- National Parks – opportunities are expanding, but check with the park.
- Bureau of Land Management trails – the trend is to allow e-bikes wherever non-electric bikes are allowed, but we advise you to check with BLM office that manages that trail.
- U.S. Forest Service – opportunities are expanding, but check with the Forest Service.
- Another resource for finding mountain bike trails where e-bikes are allowed is People for Bikes nationwide EMountain Biking Map.
What about theft?
As best as we can determine, e-bikes don’t get stolen with any more frequency than non-electric bikes. That’s most likely because people tend to lock them up better and because a bike thief needs to get a charger and a battery key to make the bike truly saleable.
The best ways to protect your bike from theft are:
- Get a high-quality bike lock. Cable locks are way too easy to cut. High-quality u-bolts and folding locks are better.
- If you are parking your bike in your garage, lock your garage. It’s probably the #1 location we’ve seen bikes get stolen from.
- When in public, lock your bike in a visible location.
Do I need special insurance?
Check with your insurance company. Some insurance companies do not treat e-bikes as bicycles, so you may need to get a rider added to your homeowners/renters insurance for theft protection. You can also check with two bicycle specialty insurers – Velosurance.com and Spokeinsurance.com.
Aren’t electric bikes heavy?
As one of our customers told us, E-bikes might be heavy to lift, but they are heavenly to ride.
Electric bikes are typically heavier than regular bikes. But the weight of any bicycle (electrical or non-electrical) is felt the most when climbing hills. The electric assist on an e-bike makes up for the additional weight many times over. Where weight does matter is if you need to lift the bike. That’s one of the many reasons why e-bikes are favored over electric scooters, which often weigh 150 pounds or more.
If you have to climb several flights of stairs to store your bike, we strongly suggest finding a more accessible storage location.
CHARGING, BATTERIES RANGE
Do electric bikes recharge when applying brakes or going down hill – like a hybrid car’s regenerative braking?
It’s rare and the concept doesn’t work very well. A few models of electric bikes include a feature to recharge the battery, usually while you are braking. In those cases the range of the battery can be extended 5-10%, while adding several hundred dollars to the cost. However, due to the design of the motors that provide regeneration, you’ll often find that the bike is harder to pedal if you are using the bike with the power off.
What is the range I can get from a single charge?
The biggest factor contributing to your range is whether you pedal or just use a throttle without pedaling, along with what level of assist you use. Cynergy E-bikes is a strong proponent of the synergy cynergy resulting from combining human pedal power with electric power, so we’ll tell you the expected range when you do both. With relaxed pedaling expect 22-50 miles on a single charge for most e-bikes. In some cases you’ll go even farther. We have bikes that are getting 80 miles on a single charge. Range will also be impacted by the battery capacity, the hills, wind and your size. Many electric bikes pedal easily as regular bikes. So you can extend the range even further by using little or no power on level surfaces and down hill.
How long does it take to charge an e-bike battery?
A lithium ion ebike battery that is fully depleted will take 3.5 to 6 hours to recharge. Batteries that still have a partial charge when you start charging will take less. In addition, the last hour or so of a charge is used to top-off the cells, and you don’t have to wait for that process to be completed. So some batteries can be 90% charged in 2.5 hours or less.
How many charges can I get out of a battery?
Most e-bike batteries sold in North America are lithium-ion, which will provide a minimum of 500 full charge cycles at which point the battery will hold about 80% of its original capacity. Some batteries can deliver up to 1200 charge cycles. If you recharge the battery when it is only 50% depleted, that counts as only 1/2 of one charge cycle. If you usually use your e-bike in pedal-assist mode, combining both pedal power and electric power, you can expect to go 10,000-30,000 miles before replacing your battery. That is a lot of miles on a bicycle.
How much electricity does it take to charge a battery?
Depending on the capacity of the battery, it will usually take 500-800 watt hours (0.4. 0.8 kilowatt hours) to charge the battery. Assuming a rate of 0.10/kWh, it will cost you 5-8 cents for a charge that will last you 20-80 miles.
MOTORS, SPEED PERFORMANCE
What is the difference between Class 1, Class 2 and Class 3 electric bikes?
This system of classifying electric bikes is being adopted by several states as a means of regulating electric bikes. The classifications are as follows:
- Class 1. is a bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling (thus no throttle), and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.
- Class 2. is a bicycle equipped with a throttle that can propel the bike up to a maximum of 20mph with the rider pedaling, and may also have the ability to achieve up to 20mph with the rider assisting, without the use of a throttle.
- Class 3. also known as a speed pedal-assisted electric bicycle, is a bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 28 miles per hour.
For all classes, the maximum power output is 750 watts (1 h.p.).
Several states, including our neighbor to the north, Washington, have adopted regulations that use this class system. Our home state, Oregon, has not yet done so.
Perhaps the most important aspect of this classification system is how some states are treating Class 3 e-bikes. While these bikes are permitted in bike lanes on streets, they can be restricted from shared use paths, such as those in parks and rails-to-trails paths that are designed to be shared by cyclists and pedestrians.
Should I buy a bike with a mid-drive motor or hub-motor?
They both have their benefits. Hub motors tend to be a little easier to operate if you are a less experienced cyclist, because they require less shifting of gears. Mid-drives tend to get a little better range for equivalent battery capacity, because you’ll get more efficiency by shifting. While theoretically you get better hill climbing with a mid-drive, you’ll usually find both types will climb just about any hill.
Finally, it’s usually easier to change a rear tire with a mid-drive.
But the real test of determining which type of motor is best for you is to ride both and compare.
What’s the difference between a cadence-sensor and a torque-sensor?
With a torque sensor, the power that is delivered is increased in proportion to the amount of pedal force the rider is applying. So as you pedal harder, the motor automatically delivers more assist. As you reduce pressure, you get a little less assist. It’s essentially amplifying whatever power you are applying to the pedals. You have multiple levels of pedal-assist, with each level representing a higher or lower amplification of your own power. A torque-sensor can feel more like riding a conventional bicycle than a cadence-sensor. It also tends to deliver power smoother.
A cadence-sensor, perhaps more appropriately called a crank-sensor, delivers a uniform amount of assist at each assist level, regardless of the amount of pressure you are applyng. It is activated just by getting the crank turning. Because a cadence-sensor is not reading your pedal pressure, the power delivery is not quite as smooth or “bike-like”. But it’s fairly easy to adapt your use of the controls to smooth out the power delivery. Some people prefer a cadence-sensor because it tends to provide a great sensation of power without applying much pedal pressure.
The best way to know which type of pedal-assist is right for you is to try them both.
How fast can an electric bike go?
If you are pedaling, you can go as fast as you are able to pedal it. However, most bikes stop providing electric assist while pedaling at 20 mph (Class 1 and Class 2 ebikes). Some will provide assist going at speeds up to about 28 mph (=45 kilometers per hour – Class 3 ebikes.)
How important is motor wattage? (also. I’m really big, so don’t I need a 1000-2000 watt motor? or. I want to go fast, so don’t I need a lot of wattage?)
The benefits of a high wattage motor are very overstated. A street legal e-bike in Oregon can go only 28mph, and only 20mph unless you are pedaling (and we recommend pedaling). You’ll be able to get that with even some 250 watt motors.
With a properly designed e-bike and e-bike motor, you’ll find that you get far more power than you need with 500 watts or less. There are many 250 watt motors that deliver as much torque as motors that are 500 watts or higher. The design of the motor and the gearing of the bike are far more important than the wattage of the motor.
Higher wattage correlates with higher power consumption, so using a higher wattage motor means you’ll need a bigger battery to go the same distance. The most expensive part of your e-bike is the battery, thus a larger motor, requires a larger battery which leads to higher cost.
As for hauling a lot of weight, we have several 300lbs customers that do fine at 250-350 watt motors.
Can I ride an e-bike as a regular bike. without the electric power?
Yes. And it is easy to switch back and forth. For example, you might want to use the power only when you are going up hills.
Do I have to pedal?
It depends on the bike. Some electric bikes sold in North America allow you to operate by simply turning the throttle without pedaling. Europeans have stricter rules, requiring that you pedal. which we support. If you think you’ll get by without pedaling, think again. Even for e-bikes that have a throttle, you’ll need to pedal when going up long, steep hills, although you won’t have to pedal hard. Pedaling is more fun, extends the range of your battery, extends the life of your motor, and extends your own life too.
Is servicing an e-bike any different than a regular bike?
Look at an e-bike as being comprised of two groups of parts – mechanical and electric.
- Mechanical parts are the same parts that you’ll see on non-electric bikes. Servicing mechanical parts can be performed at any bike shop. You might find that your bike parts might wear a little faster than on a non-electric bike – especially brake pads, chains, cogs and tires. But that’s because most people put many more miles on their e-bike. There is some basic maintenance that you can do on your own, like keeping your tires properly inflated and lubricating your chain. For some basic bike maintenance tips, check out our recommended maintenance videos.
- The electrical parts don’t require any maintenance. If you do run into a problem with an electrical part, you’ll want to go to a shop that has some expertise in servicing e-bikes. While not really a maintenance task, you do want to make sure that the battery keeps some charge in it. If you don’t, it might discharge to a point so low that you can’t charge it anymore, thus killing your battery – an expensive mistake to make.
Cynergy E-Bikes has a complete service department for both mechanical work and electrical work, with expertise servicing electrical parts for from many different e-bike brands.
CLIMATE AND WEATHER
How much will I reduce my carbon footprint if I use an ebike instead of a car?
Our favorite question! In Oregon, which depends on hydropower and wind more than coal and gas, it takes the carbon footprint of over 60 e-bikes to equal the carbon footprint of one single occupancy, gasoline-powered car. In states that depend more on coal, it might be around 20-30 e-bikes compared to one car. No matter how you calculate it, even though an ebike uses electricity that might come from fossil fuels, the amount of CO2 emitted compared to a car is miniscule.
What about leaving my electric bicycle out in the rain?
The motor and battery are sufficiently sealed to be protected from the rain. However, we do suggest that if you are carrying your bike on the back of a car and rain is in the forecast, that you place the battery inside the car. Driving 70mph in a downpour with the battery exposed is like pressure-washing your battery. That’s a lot different than riding your bike in the rain.
What’s driving the battery fires with e-bikes and scooters?
An electric bike parked near a Bronx supermarket that was destroyed in a fire that officials say was caused by a faulty lithium-ion scooter battery.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
As firefighters battled a five-alarm fire at a supermarket in the Bronx earlier this month, New York City officials gathered beside what they said was the cause of the fire: the blackened shell of what was once a sit-on electric scooter.
Officials said that a faulty lithium-ion battery in the scooter had suddenly burst into flame, as captured on surveillance video. The resulting fire was so intense, they said, that it enveloped the building in a matter of minutes.
There is extraordinary damage. This entire building behind me is completely destroyed. The roof is caved in. There is nothing left. And it is all because of this one single bike, said Laura Kavanaugh, the city’s fire commissioner.
Last week’s blaze joined the more than 200 fires in New York City last year caused by batteries from e-bikes, electric scooters and similar devices. Lithium-ion battery explosions are now the third leading cause of fires in the city, the fire department says.
Per FDNY Fire Marshals, the cause of today’s 5-alarm fire at 2096 Grand Concourse in the Bronx was a lithium-ion battery which powered a scooter. piccom/HTifRojiJo
— FDNY (@FDNY) March 5, 2023
As the popularity of so-called micromobility devices has soared across the U.S., so too have risen the number of fires associated with the lithium-ion batteries that power them.
Some lawmakers and federal regulators have taken note. Late last year, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced it had received reports of more than 200 incidents since the start of 2021 in which micromobility devices caught fire or overheated — incidents that led to the deaths of 19 people.
Destructive and deadly fires from lithium-ion batteries in e-bikes have reached a crisis level. The tragic loss of life from battery fires is heartbreaking and preventable, said Commissioner Richard Trumka in December.
Read on for more about why these fires are happening and how to keep yourself safe:
Why are batteries in e-bikes and scooters vulnerable to catching fire?
Lithium-ion batteries power many rechargeable devices that are part of our modern lives: cell phones, laptops, vapes, cordless power tools and electric vehicles of all kinds, from cars to scooters to e-bikes to hoverboards.
They’re small, lightweight and powerful — but they’re also prone to overheating and catching fire, said Michael Pecht, a professor of engineering at the University of Maryland. Ever since lithium-ion batteries started to be prevalent in products, we’ve seen fires, he said.
Fires from exploding e-bike batteries multiply in NYC — sometimes fatally
At issue is the high density of the batteries, which is a double-edged sword, said Pecht, who also serves as director of the Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering, a university research center that consults with companies on reliability and safety issues, including batteries.
They can provide a lot of power to our cell phones and to our computers for a relatively long period of time in a very small volume, he said. But because we have so much energy packed in that small volume, if there is a problem, then they’re very flammable.
Defects or contamination in the manufacturing process can eventually lead to short circuiting or other failures.
In 2006, Dell, Apple and other major laptop makers urged millions of customers to return laptop batteries after Sony discovered a flaw in their battery manufacturing process. Chevy, Hyundai and Chrysler have all been forced to issue recalls over battery fires in electric vehicles. The Federal Aviation Administration reported more than 60 incidents last year in which lithium-ion batteries — mostly battery packs, vapes or cell phones — overheated, began smoking or caught fire on airplanes.
Why do there seem to be more e-bike– and scooter-related fires now?
In short, there are more fires because there are so many more e-bikes and scooters these days.
Their small size and low cost relative to gas-powered vehicles have made micromobility devices an attractive transportation and recreation option for millions of Americans. That’s especially true for those living in urban areas where parking and traffic are challenges for drivers. Electric bikes and scooters have also been embraced by delivery drivers.
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The burst in popularity is so recent that there isn’t yet much solid data about how many e-bikes, scooters and other devices are sold each year.
But what information we do have shows that their numbers are growing rapidly. The Light Electric Vehicle Association, an industry group, estimates that about 880,000 e-bikes were imported to the U.S. in 2021. That’s about double the number imported in 2020, and three times the total from 2019.
devices means more fires, experts say, especially since the industry is relatively new and unregulated, and there are a lot of different companies and products on the market.
What’s being done about it?
There’s not currently much regulation of e-bikes and scooters.
Regulation could go in several directions. One would be to require devices be certified under the safety standards recommended by Underwriter Laboratories, a group that has produced safety certifications for electric products for over a century.
Earlier this month, the New York City Council passed a package of local bills that would require all e-bikes and other electric mobility devices sold, rented or leased in the city to be certified under the appropriate UL safety standards.
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The legislation also bans the sale of uncertified or used batteries. Retailers found to be in violation of the laws can be fined up to 1,000 per violation.
At the national level, the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a letter in December calling on more than 2,000 manufacturers, importers and retailers to voluntarily adhere to UL safety standards for e-bikes and other micromobility devices.
Following the guidelines significantly reduces the risk of injuries and deaths from micromobility device fires, wrote Robert Kaye, the agency’s director of compliance and field operations. Consumers face an unreasonable risk of fire and risk serious injury or death if their micromobility devices do not meet the level of safety provided by the relevant UL standards.
Additionally, the agency has vowed to pursue penalties against companies who fail to inform the CPSC of safety hazards.
Recommendations to keep yourself safe
The main recommendation that comes from both the CPSC and the FDNY is to be present while you’re charging your device, and to not charge it while you’re sleeping. Unplug the device once it is fully charged.
The CPSC also recommends that you only use the charger that came included with your device and to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper charging.
Fire officials add that you should charge your device away from flammable materials like furniture and pillows, and that you shouldn’t charge or store your device in a location that blocks your access to an exit.
When you’re buying an e-bike or other micromobility device, try to find what battery comes stocked with it, Pecht said. Does the maker of the device state where the battery is sourced from? Is the battery made by a reputable manufacturer? Experts also suggest that consumers look for batteries that have a UL certification.
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Be warned that some online sellers may falsely claim to have UL certification. Others may sell re-wrapped batteries, meaning counterfeit batteries produced to appear as though they’re made by reputable manufacturers.
If your battery starts to fail, it may be safest to buy a new one. Don’t repair anything yourself, and buy from a company where you know that they’re using brand-name batteries, Pecht said. It may work best to buy a new battery from the same company that produced your bike or scooter.
To dispose of an old battery, bring it to a battery recycling center or other e-waste facility. Don’t throw away lithium-ion batteries in conventional trash.